When Magic Mike hit theaters in 2012 it took the box office by storm way more than most expected. Obviously the female fan base went in droves to see the film loosely based on Tatum’s life for obvious reasons. It was met with mixed results, but for those that actually saw the film know that it is not just a chick flick and is pretty dark due to the drug use and drama. It came as no surprise the success spawned a sequel to get them back on stage with Magic Mike XXL, but does it have anything new to say or should the curtain have been closed?
Magic Mike XXL follows Mike, three years after he bowed out of the stripper life at the top of his game, where he and the remaining Kings of Tampa hit the road to Myrtle Beach to put on one last blow-out performance. Before getting into this review let’s make something clear. Sure there is the obvious eye candy and male stripper world that markets towards females, but these are far from chick flicks. These films speak to the male audience from the standpoint of the lives they are living and the perks and downfalls of their career. Where the first film focused mostly on Tatum and his protégé, this time around they have brought the rest of the guys to the front making it a lot more of a buddy road trip movie that is a lot more light hearted than the first. There is a lot more comedic moments here and each of the guys gets a moment to shine. Obviously Tatum is still the main focus, but it is balanced well enough to feel more like an ensemble than anything else. Ladies have no fear there are still plenty of those moments that you are hoping for, but instead of just on the club stage they are featured in a wide variety of venues and locales.
Most of the original cast have returned including Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, and Gabriel Iglesias with newcomers to the mix including Amber Heard and Jada Pinkett Smith who steals every scene she is in. They not only deliver the expected dance routines, but also explore their friendship and struggles based on events of the previous film and Tatum’s departure. Those bummed that McConaughey didn’t return, have no fear as it works perfectly into the story and continues on some aspects set up in the first film. Everyone here looks to be having a lot of fun and that resonates onto the audience. As mentioned they all get their time to shine, but Kevin Nash is the one that gets the deepest moments as the aged stripper who constantly reveals new things about himself that none of them ever knew. AS with the previous film when the music starts so does the performances and there are some that are funny to watch and others that are perfect choreography showcasing a wider variety this time around than just the straight forward stage routines.
Sadly most guys will avoid this film as thinking they are too manly to watch this film, but in fact it is pretty funny and entertaining. It isn’t breaking down any walls in filmmaking by any means and there are some forced moments and acting that isn’t always the best, but it still works. BE on the lookout for some surprise cameos most notably one of another dancer that is hilarious and unexpected in the best way. This is billed as the last one and the way they have designed the story it serves it that way perfectly, but who knows what the box office will say.